South Bay News

Santa Cruz police to honor slain officers with memorial garden

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Santa Cruz police announced that it plans to create a memorial garden in honor of two officers who were gunned down in February.

The Santa Cruz Police Department announced Tuesday that it plans to create a memorial garden in honor of two officers who were gunned down in the line of duty in February.

Detective Sgt. Loran "Butch" Baker, 51, and Detective Elizabeth Butler, 38, were fatally shot by gunman Jeremy Goulet while following up on a report of a misdemeanor sexual assault the afternoon of Feb. 26. Goulet later died in a gun battle with authorities.

Thousands attended the officers' funeral at the former HP Pavilion on San Jose in early March.

Now, their memory will live on in a permanent garden that will include a fountain and two large jasper boulders featuring brass plaques bearing the officers' names, police said.

The garden, which will be lit for night viewing, will be created near the entrance to police headquarters at 155 Center St., in the same spot where a makeshift memorial grew in the days after the killings as community members dropped off flowers and sympathy cards.

"We wanted it to be where the community organically and spontaneously started their memorial to the officers," Santa Cruz police Deputy Chief Steve Clark said this morning.

He said police also wanted the garden to be somewhere prominent so that people coming into the building would see it.

"It really is our gift back to the officers and their families and back to the community, to remember them," Clark said. "It's been an honor, really, for everyone to work on this and to do something like this."

In addition to the boulders, there will be a bench, landscaped plants, and a stepping-stone walkway with a 2-foot raised stone wall, atop which people can leave tributes to Butler and Baker.

The garden is being designed by local landscape artist Cindy West, who is volunteering her time for the project.

"She offered her services for anything that we needed really early on in this process ... She's been great," Clark said.

The company Graniterock is assisting with the cost of the boulders, and Peter Putt, of Putt Construction, will do the electrical wiring for free, according to police.

The department still needs to raise funds for the rest of the construction and materials, including to rent a large crane to put the boulders in place, police said.

Donations are being accepted through the Santa Cruz Police Officers' Association. Those wishing to contribute can visit the association's website at www.santacruzpoa.com or send a check to the Police Department at 155 Center St., Santa Cruz, Calif., 95060, noting that the donation is for the memorial garden.

The hope is to complete the garden by the first anniversary of the officers' deaths on Feb. 26, 2014.

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